What Is Collagen Vascular Disease?

Collagen vascular diseases are autoimmune diseases that occur when the body’s immune system attacks its own skin, tissues and organs. Our specialists offer diagnostic testing and ongoing management of skin issues in patients with all forms of connective tissue disease, including:

  • Lupus erythematosus: Lupus is often characterized by a facial rash on both cheeks. Lupus patients may experience fatigue, joint pain, skin lesions and shortness of breath.
  • Systemic scleroderma: Scleroderma causes abnormal collagen growth and affects the skin, joints and other organs, and is often characterized by swelling in the fingertips, joint pain, spider veins and calcium bumps. In serious cases it may cause kidney disease and heart failure.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis causes the lining of the joints in the feet and hands to swell, and is typically characterized by swollen joints, stiffness, bumps of tissue on the affected limbs and fatigue.
  • Sjögren syndrome: Sjogren syndrome often accompanies other immune disorders such as arthritis and lupus, and causes dry eyes and dry mouth. It may also eventually affect joints and organs such as skin, liver and kidneys.
  • Other forms of connective tissue disease:
    • Dermatomyositis
    • Morphea
    • Vasculitis
    • Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
  • Mixed connective tissue disorders: This syndrome features symptoms of multiple disorders that come and go over a number of years, and are often hard to diagnose because the symptoms do not all come and go at the same time. Indications include fatigue, cold or numb fingers (Raynaud disease), swollen fingers and muscle pain.

Some collagen vascular diseases are more common in women than men.